Firm Philosophy

Others fight for the sake of fighting.

First, we think. Then we strategize. Then we engage.

Consumer Rights Litigation

It cannot be disputed that it is becoming more and more difficult to do business. Government keeps increasing regulation. The Internet and national chain stores have created tremendous competition. Rather than comply with regulations or compete with other businesses, some business people have taken another route – cutting corners or “cheating” their way to a profit. This is “consumer fraud” and it takes many forms:

- passing on hidden or inflated fees (Did you ever really read your mortgage closing documents? And even if you read them, could you understand them? What about all of those charges on your purchase order for your car?)

- doing less work than was promised, or changing the price after an estimate was given (or perhaps not even giving an estimate!)

- doing business without all necessary permits and licenses

- “lemon” automobiles, “title washing” (lemon cars from other states sold in New Jersey) and odometer rollback violations

New Jersey has extensive consumer protection laws. These laws govern car dealers, mechanics, contractors and dozens of other businesses. These laws exist to protect the consumer. Under New Jersey’s consumer protection states, people and businesses found to have committed “consumer fraud” have to pay the consumer’s attorney. For this reason, we can almost always agree to accept a consumer rights case with no fee to be paid unless we prevail.

Citizens’ Rights

Much of the work for which the firm is known deals with cases regarding how government sometimes fails to behave like it is by and for the people. Regrettably, government policies are sometimes set without regard that government’s main object is to respond to its citizens pursuant to the Constitution and rule of law (remember – people working in government are public servants). Many of us have seen instances where it seemed like the government was out for its own benefit. Sadly, sometimes it is. Forcing the government to respect the rights and privileges of its citizens is a lawyer’s highest calling. We are proud to devote much of our energy to this cause.

Our firm does not “play politics”.

This area of our practice falls into several categories:

Public Records Access.

You have the right to be informed about how your government is spending your money. Or making laws affecting the way you live. Have you ever tried to get information from the government? Many times it is an exercise in frustration. We can help. We have successfully brought cutting edge cases to shape the law on how you can get this material and, almost as important, how much you can be charged for it.

New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act requires the government to pay your counsel fees if it has wrongfully withheld information.

Eminent Domain.

Is the government seizing or condemning your property. The federal and state constitutions limits the reasons “why” they can take it. Most people know this. However, many people do not know that New Jersey also has very specific procedures to be followed to take or condemn your property. And many people also do not know that they have the right to challenge the government’s claim of what the property is worth. We have experience in these valuation hearings and trials. If you are going to be forced to surrender your property, make sure you receive all that it is worth.

Real Property Tax Appeals.

You are supposed to be taxed based upon not only the fair market value of your property, but the same ratio of fair market value to assessed value as all your neighbors.

Zoning Challenges.

The saying that “all politics is local” has never been more true than at your local zoning and planning board. Very specific procedures need to be followed for an ordinance or variance to be valid. Sometimes, these procedures are not followed. Sometimes, the actions taken by these boards is just not legal. The results can ruin your neighborhood and your quality of life – but only if you stand by and let it happen.

Class Actions

Related to both the Consumer Rights and Citizens’ Right areas of the practice, many of the cases arise from a common theme – it is easier to cheat a million people out of a dollar each than one person out of a million dollars. The odds that you are the only person victimized by a business operating outside the law or a government procedure are very small. Businesses given to dishonest conduct usually continue it because it is profitable. Government often continues to do things, even the “wrong things”, simply because that is the way it has always been done.

A class action allows one person, just one voice, to stand up for the many that have been affected and change what has been done illegally or wrongfully. It is the single most effective legal device to get big business and government agencies to comply with the law. Because of the complexity of the issues often involved, our firm is well suited to successfully address these matters. However, as a result of the size of the cases and the time commitments required of us as lawyers, we are very selective in the cases we accept.

Another area of our class action practice is objecting to class settlements. Unfortunately, sometimes the only people that benefit from a class action settlement are the lawyers involved. We have on occasion accepted cases to challenge class action settlements as inadequate to address the problems affecting the class members. Often this occurs when you see millions of dollars in lawyer fees being paid, but the class members only get coupons. Most lawyers work very hard to help people. Others embarrass us. That is the law being abused. Only you can allow these wrongs to be continued.

125 North Route 73
West Berlin, NJ 08091
Phone: 856-988-7777

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